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  • The Classic Chinese Novel

The Classic Chinese Novel

A Critical Introduction

C. T. Hsia

English , 2016/06 Classic Works of Hsia Brothers The Chinese University of Hong Kong Press

Tags: Literature

229 x 152 x 20 mm , 392pp ISBN / ISSN : 978-962-996-763-5

  • US$32.00

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This work is written by Prof. C. T. Hsia, a renowned scholar of Chinese literature, on six major novels ranging from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms to the Dream of the Red Chamber, each a landmark in the development of Chinese vernacular literature over a five-hundred-year period. This erudite and thought-provoking study has proved the best and most comprehensive guide to the research in this particular branch of Chinese literature.

Although written nearly fifty years ago, it reads as freshly today as it did then. It is still by far the single best introduction to the subject in the English—or indeed in any language. This remains the one book to place in the hands of any curious reader wanting to know what the masterpieces of classic Chinese fiction are like, what they are about, and why they are so special.


Prior to the publication of this work, criticism on classic Chinese fictions had hardly begun its enormous task. To Prof. C. T. Hsia we are profoundly indebted, for with the present excellent volume he has ensured that the level on which critical discussion proceeds shall be a high one, sustained by both scholarship and insight.

—Prof. Cyril Birch, the University of California, Berkeley

There has been remarkably little good criticism of Chinese fiction, and this book by Professor Hsia will substantially increase what is available in English. It should serve both an introduction to Chinese fiction and also as a series of first-rate critical essays on particular Chinese novels.

—Prof. Patrick Hanan, Harvard University

Professor Hsia was that rare being: a sophisticated scholar who cared deeply about the fate of literature in the modern world. His passionate involvement in his subject is evident on every page. He reads these great novels as an integral part of world literature, and is willing to say so. He is never afraid to mention a Chinese eighteenth-century novelist in the same breath as Dostoievsky.

—Prof. John Minford, The Australian National University 

Hsia's book represents a refreshing departure toward a new rhetoric for the discussion of Chinese fiction.

—Joseph S. M. Lau

C. T. Hsia (1921–2013) was a renowned Chinese literary critic who set a milestone in the study of Chinese literature. He taught for most of his life at Columbia University, becoming Professor Emeritus of Chinese in 1991. He was awarded the title of academician at Academia Sinica in 2006. Professor Hsia passed away in 2013. His classic works include A History of Modern Chinese Fiction and The Classic Chinese Novel.

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